Latvia's Annual National Program 2003
Latvia-s Annual National Program (ANP) 2003 has been designed to reflect Latvia-s readiness to undertake responsibilities of NATO Ally once invited to join the Organisation, its continuous preparations for NATO membership and specific plans in this respect for the year 2003.
The document has been structured in a way to reflect progress and achievements since previous program had been submitted to NATO. Also it is focusing on the fact that already now Latvia is considering co-operation models after the Prague Summit and looking for the most effective ways to contribute to the Alliance-s capabilities.
The ANP traditionally consists of six chapters: (1) political/ economic issues, (2) defence/ military issues, (3) resource issues, (4) security issues, (5) legal issues and (6) implementation of Annual National Program. Latvia-s Annual National Program 2003 is developed on the basis of experience from previous programs and taking into account NATO's Progress Reports. Allied countries have provided valuable comments during the NATO-Latvia meetings in Brussels and bilateral political-military consultations.
The Political and Economic Chapter
The Government and Parliament have taken number of steps to make sure that the pace and speed of reforms after the Prague Summit will continue. After introducing amendments to the Law on Defence Financing it stipulates that the defence budget will be maintained at the level of 2% of GDP for the period up to the year 2008. Latvia-s solid economic performance provides firm basis for the decision. In 2001 GDP growth was at level of 7.6%. Latvia-s institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund estimate a 5% GDP growth in 2002. The Government has approved a number of legislative measures aimed at preventing corruption and has set up a new, more powerful institution to fight the corruption. These efforts have been recognised by a number of international institutions. Transparency International in its latest corruption perception index has moved Latvia up for seven positions compared to 2001.
Issues of social integration receive continuous attention from the Government. Non-citizens are actively encouraged to naturalise, minority education and Latvian language training is supported by the state. In May 2002, Parliament of the Republic of Latvia (Saeima) adopted the amendments to the Election Law. Latvian language proficiency will no longer be a prerequisite for a person to become a member of the Parliament or a local municipality.
Latvia has participated in all NATO-led operations in the Balkans since 1996, and its commitment to NATO-led Stabilisation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) and Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) continues. In July 2002, for the first time, Latvia-s EOD team within Norwegian contingent was deployed in Kosovo. Also military police and medics left for Kosovo on rotation basis in August. A company of Latvian National Armed Forces continues its mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina: the latest rotation of military units took place in August 2002.
Latvia has offered political support and practical contribution to fight against terrorism and non-proliferation objectives. Immediately after tragic events of 11 September 2001 The Action Plan of the Government for Combating International Terrorism, consisting of package of legislative, executive and regulatory measures in the sphere of national and international co-operation, was approved. The decision to deploy an air movement control team in the operation led by the United States Enduring Freedom in the vicinity of Afghanistan was made by Latvia-s Parliament in January 2002.
Having successfully transformed its own country into a free market democracy, Latvia aims at passing on the reform experience to the post-communist countries that desire to implement similar transformation. Latvia has co-operation projects in areas of democratic control over military, running of the state administration and others with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and has also consulted Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic. These programs are expected to continue and broaden in the coming years, as Latvia assumes the role of donor in terms of international development assistance, as recently recognised by the United Nations.
Latvia-s NATO membership and further development of the country-s defence system are widely supported by Latvia-s population. In July 2002, 66.1% of Latvia-s public were favourable to Latvia's membership in NATO.
The Defence and Military Chapter
Reorganisation, modernisation and specialisation are set as three main priorities in 2003 to further develop Latvia-s defence system and National Armed Forces (NAF). Therefore, this chapter focuses on plans for 2003 and mid-term plans as well as main achievements in defence area.
The reorganisation of NAF structure has been initiated in 2002. The reorganisation plan was consulted with NATO allies at 19+1 format and allied countries have recognised the reviewed force structure for 2002-2008 as realistic and efficient for substantial contribution to national defence and to NATO once invitation to join the Alliance is received. Sufficient amount of resources has been allocated for implementation of the proposed structure, therefore, the plan is considered as affordable.
The reviewed force structure ensures smooth transition from peace to wartime structure, sets up clear chain of command and consolidates logistics and training operations, while the operational forces are to be reorganised. According to the plan NAF will be organised in 4 military regions. The total number of territorial units will be reduced from 32 to 20, by 2004, with the aim to increase the operational readiness of the Land Forces and preserve the personnel and acquired knowledge. In 2002, the number of territorial units was reduced from 32 to 28.
The modernisation of Armed Forces is set as a priority also within defence budget for 2003. The investments programme puts an emphasis on further improvement of military capabilities like C4I equipment, Host Nation Support (HNS) capabilities, training of units and their readiness, air surveillance, as well as logistics. In 2003 the acquisition and installation of the first 3D long-range radar will be finalised. Also the development of HNS system receives special attention: the Government has approved the HNS concept in August 2002. Consultations on HNS issues had been held with NATO IMS and experts from Estonia and Lithuania.
Latvia continues its focus on specialised units that provides contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security and could complement NATO-s collective capabilities - peace support units, military medics, explosive ordnance disposal experts, and military police. In addition to specialised forces already available for NATO-led operations, it is planned to prepare personnel for special operations and mine clearing divers, and to develop nuclear, biological and chemical defence capabilities.
The Law on Mobilisation has been approved by the Parliament in May 2002. The law defines types of mobilization, their administration mechanisms, the roles and responsibilities of the state institutions, private sector and individuals and therefore, sets the basis for the development of entire mobilization system. National Armed Forces Mobilisation Plan and Mobilisation Plan of National Economy have been developed on the basis of the law.
Following the conclusions drawn from annual consultations with the NATO expert team in January 2002, NAF has conducted a study on development of the Armed Forces beyond 2008. The conclusions from the study are summarised in the report "Review of Force Structures 2009-2015" and have been already presented to NATO. This review is broad-based with the aim to determine priorities and main structural developments taking into account defence budget projections for the assigned period.
The Resources Chapter
The chapter reflects planning and control mechanisms over the resources allocated for defence and NATO integration. Latvia has consistently increased funding for defence and NATO integration for the last four years. The amount allocated for the investment projects has been raised from 11% in 1999 to 23% in 2002 thus allowing adequate modernisation of NAF. As amended Law on Defence Financing foresees allocation of 2% of GDP for defence and NATO integration by 2008 ensuring that the reorganisation plans and Latvia-s obligations as future Allay will be fulfilled.
The Security Chapter
The information provided demonstrates progress Latvia has made addressing security issues based on evaluation it has received from NATO in the Progress Report 2002. Further adjustments of the legal framework have taken place. Issue of security of classified information transmitted by electronic means has been addressed, and certified lines of communication established. A proper personnel training was considered one of the priorities during 2001/2002 and will remain also in future. Plans to increase a number of registries to store the classified information have been developed.
The Constitution Protection Bureau as National Security Authority is well aware that immediate further actions will be required if Latvia receives an invitation to join the Alliance during the Prague Summit. In this respect, the Bureau is currently considering issues regarding its capacities and working on further plans to be ready for implementation when there is a necessity.
The Legal Chapter
Efficient legal basis for successful co-operation with partners within Alliance-s framework is set as the main task in this chapter. It has been concluded that Latvia-s accession to the Washington Treaty will not require amendments to the Constitution. The impact of Article V of the Washington Treaty on the national normative acts has been analysed and necessary amendments made.
Adopted amendments to the Law on Participation of the National Armed Forces of Latvia in International Operations broadened applicability and harmonised provisions with those of NATO SOFA. The Law on Mobilisation and Law on Military Service have been passed in Parliament. Adoption of the Law on Alternative Service has promoted the principles of democracy and human rights in the defence system.
The Implementation Plan for 2003 attached as Annex II, elaborates on planned activities for 2003 by specifying allocated funding, timelines and the responsible authority for implementation.